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faces as upon so many cabbage leaves, or what often seems to be the case, as upon so many little imps, whose only apparent use, like the mosquito, is to torment and irritate; to commence the day's work with a feeling of indifference or even careless regard for the welfare of the beings intrusted to your care: this will not broaden you.
To pit yourself against each individual scholar, even though he be incorrigible, and place yourself on the same plane with him, determined to fight him to the death, thereby descending from a position of acknowledged authority, and making it a personal matter between you and him: this will not broaden you.
To suffer yourself to get vindictive, and to take every thing as personal; to learn to love some and hate others, simply because some are lovable and others hateful; to make, as I mentioned above, yourself the law instead of the agent of the law, thereby shouldering burdens not intended for you to bear; to let your temper and tongue have their own sweet will and play in the atmosphere of your school-room, as the lightnings play in a summer sky: this will not broaden you.
To forget that, strange to say, you yourself were once a child, and, doubtless, had all the peculiarities of a child, unlovely as well as lovely, and thereby forget to be considerate and charitable toward them, in all their striking exhibitions of total depravity: this will not broaden you.
To leave the school-room at night, tired and disgusted (which all of you do and will do many a time), and allow these feelings to conquer you, without struggling to overcome them; to think about the trials of the day and allow them to fret and worry you; to talk and think about school, out of school; to study text-books and dry details altogether; to starve your social nature; to keep yourself away from sunshine and clear bracing air; to give no heed to passing events, the affairs of your country and the world at large; to read no books of elevated tone and noble thoughts; in short, to teach, walk, talk, eat, read, breathe, act as a school teacher, and to become an old fossil, bearing the marks of primitive life, and more marks of wear and tear and rub, belonging to a by-gone age, but now without life or animation, of some worth as a specimen of what strange sorts of animals can exist, but, practically, of little value: all this will not broaden
you. We must learn the nature of our work, and, having learned,
if we would succeed in every sense of the word, we must consecrate ourselves to it. We must consider the fact, that every individual being that we have in charge, is possessed of an immortal soul and an intellect, be it strong or weak; that both of these are as impressible as wax, and we shall either make or mar them to some extent while they are under our influence. That thought, of itself, lifts the mists, and takes away the seemingly narrow limits of our work. That thought will help us over many a rough place, and give us courage when our efforts seem fruitless. They are given into our care to be improved, and, no matter how hard or hopeless the task may seem, it is our duty to do what we can for them.
There is need to conquer self. For my part, I do not see how any one can obtain
permanent success, as a teacher or governor, without having conquered largely himself, and obtained the power of self-control. I believe those things are essential to the highest success in this work, and, if you have succeeded in obtaining them, you have won a victory which is invaluable to you. Looking upon your work in this light, you are not fretted or worried but take pleasure in it. You leave the school-room at night with a feeling of satisfaction, and, if you are wise, you will leave all thought of your work behind, save taking time to prepare for the coming day. Now let your mind rest, and change the whole current of your thoughts. Whenever you have time, take a good book, well written and interesting, and follow the thoughts of the writer, away from yourself and surroundings, or, if possible, have one or more congenial friends, with whom you can associate and interchange thoughts. Man is a social being and needs society. Take an interest in every thing that is of profit. Think now and then what a great world this is; how many people there are in it; and how small a place you fill in it. Look up at the heavens at night and think how far away the stars are, you will be surprised at the effect it will have on you. Keep yourselves posted in current events. If you get a chance to go any where or to see any thing or to learn any thing, which will do you good by increasing your knowledge or widening your views, avail yourselves of it. In short, just as every tree and flower and blade of grass shoots eagerly toward the light, so you should seek and be willing to receive and learn, from any and every source, that which will be of benefit to you.
No life should become stagnant, but, every day, there should
be a little more added to that already possessed, for when the time comes, in which a man or woman says, “I have learned enough or I have improved sufficiently, now let me rest," from that moment their usefulness will diminish.
If your opportunities are many, use them all, if few, improve them the more zealously, and make for yourselves a broad manhood or womanhood, which can be attained by all.
I said that I did not propose to lay down any explicit rules by which you might be kept from being warped by your work, I have not done so, nor am I able to do so. I have only given you a few hints, without, perhaps, saying any thing heretofore unknown to you, and warned you not to allow yourselves to become warped and dwarfed in your lives, but to make it your aim, to rise above all things which have a tendency to make you so, into a broader view of life, that you may have that charity which suffereth long and is kind, doth not behave itself unseemly, is not puffed up, seeketh not its own, beareth all things, endureth all things, hopeth all things, for this is the secret of all true lives. And what is the reward for all this?
Need I tell you?
Every life has its joys and sorrows, its pleasant peaceful days and its dark days. Every work has its advantages and disadvantages; its attractions and repulsions; its gains and its losses.
If you seek a free and easy life without care or responsibility, I cannot point you to any vocation where you will find it, least of all, would I recommend you to a faithful teacher's bife. Do you want to lend a hand in helping humanity reach a higher level against the tendencies to sink it lower ? There is an opportunity for you in this work, and the rewards of an honest life will be yours.
The ultimate aim of every man's life should be, to serve God and his fellow-man. If that is not your purpose, you are selfish in your desires, and I have nothing to offer you, neither can I hope of your ever reaching any great excellence of character, and to such, I have only to say, I do not envy you your lot as teachers, for you will have all the difficulties without the consciousness of being noble in your purpose.
Finally, take care that you do not get vain or proud of that which you do, and, by this, I do not mean an honest pride in doing your work well, but vain or proud of what you have done or what you can do; vain of the little learning that you
may have obtained, for the most is but little, compared with the great all; vain of your fancied or even real excellencies, for this is paralysis to any true growth in life.
It is a great truth and happy is he who has found it to be a truth for himself, that the only road to true greatness is through the gate of humility, and let us beware lest we shut ourselves out by our own folly.
I found a little scrap the other day, with only one verse upon it, which expresses my thought, and I will give it as a closing word to what I have said.
“But keep us, our Father, from pride,
Make us honest and true.”
S. H. FISH.
There be some, these days, that go mad on Method. Unlike Hamlet, in the play, of whom Polonius said: “If this be madness, there is method in it;" of such it may be said, if this is method, then there is madness in it; and fortunate indeed, were this madness as harmless to society as was that of the offended Prince of Denmark. His was directed against a great private wrong, while this of the shallow teacher is directed against a great public right. And this offence goes on repeating itself, and perpetuating the evil, to the detriment of sound learning and good order.
As though methods could be patented and peddled about among teachers like some drugs, warranted to cure all the diseases, irregularities, and stupidity, to which flesh is heir ! In this sense, and indeed, in all such, there can be no such thing as true Method; since the very assumption defeats it and condemns it in the eyes of correct judgment.
Method, to be efficient in the best sense, must not only be grounded upon right principles, but must be, in detail, largely the product of individual invention. The principle upon which the method is founded may be studied—indeed, must be studied, and thoroughly too, before true Method can be educed. Then it comes to the wise and thoughtful teacher as a legitimate inheritance, as the best means of working out the required results.
The same Methods in the hands of two equally good teachers, or even the same teacher, may serve many widely different purposes, and as many different pupils, and serve them well, too.
To illustrate: a table may be spread with all that is healthful and necessary for the family repast; yet all the members will not partake, to the same extent, of the same viands; yet all may be satisfied and well served.
Again, there may be many different roads leading into the same city, and each one the right road, too, to those inhabitants living along the different routes of travel. But how absurd to insist that all must submit to the inconvenience of entering this city by the same road, to the exclusion of all others. The same thing, in effect, must be done in teaching, however, if we insist upon
the same fixed Methods, which may or may not be the true ones. But the best Method is always more charitable than all this, and more scientific and consistent also.
True Method may therefore be defined: The formulated expression of the logical and chronological relations existing between latent energies, which, subsequently, under wise and judicious treatment, become mind and character, on the one hand, and undiscovered truths, which, to the learner, under like treatment, subsequently become science, litera‘ture, and art, on the other hand.
These two entities, viz: mental want, or vacuity, and scien. tific supply or plethora, stand ever the one over against the other, waiting the hand of the teacher to unite them. He therefore becomes, in his functions, the high priest of knowledge, waiting and ready to unite in the bonds of indissoluble companionship, aggressive mind and yielding science, husband and handmaid, whence shall spring a brotherhood of literature, art, and commerce, to bless the world.
Method, as applied to culture in general, is the proper adjustment of want, as expressed in crude body and mind, and supply, as expressed in congenial employment, and the knowledge to be acquired. As applied to teaching it consists in the right disposing of all the agencies employed in the school; and the wise management of them in the various details connected with the school work.
The study of Pedagogics or Teaching in the Normal School, assumes the following twofold character, viz: I. Principles,